Backing up your website: A guide for website backups

website problems

Imagine if you woke up one morning to open your website and find it had been hacked, attacked by viruses or simply not there anymore.

This happened to a local restaurant I frequent. Weeks after opening, their website was hacked, redirecting to a Russian website instead of the take-away ordering system.

We offered to help them but they felt like they should go back to their developer. Weeks and weeks went by when this newly opened restaurant didn’t have a functioning website. Can you imagine the frustration and the loss of income?

Reasons why backups are so important.

It’s not your web host’s responsibility to create backups on daily basis. Generally, this is not something done by default.

However, some web hosting companies can offer this to you as an extra paid service on top of your current hosting fees.

Some web hosts do actually run a weekly backup. However, if you have spent four days writing new content and updating your site and then it goes down before the weekly backup, you have just lost four days of hard work.

As mentioned web hosts don’t back up your website or blogs on a daily basis. You should take care of backups yourself and protect your online property. Don’t rely on your hosting company to take care of this critical task for you.

You should care about your website and conduct daily backups yourself if this is something your hosting company doesn’t do. Especially if your website is a valuable asset and your primary source of income.

There have been many horror stories over the past couple of years of web hosting company’s losing thousands of clients’ data and not being able to recover it.

cPanel backup, how it works

cPanel is the most common form of hosting these days. It is therefore quite likely you have cPanel hosting yourself. Follow these instructions to do a cPanel backup.

1) Log into your cPanel manager software
2) Click on the “Backup” icon.
3) Select “Generate / Download a Full Backup”.
4) Select “Home Directory” in “Backup Destination” and enter your electronic mail address.

Once the backup is complete. You will receive an email with a link to download the data that’s been backed up. Once you have downloaded your site data. Its best practice to store the backups in two separate locations such as different physical devices like your home computer and then also onto a USB stick. You might even have your own home backup device such as a home server or a NAS (Network attached storage)

WordPress backup up to the cloud.

A cloud solution is one of the the best ways to maintain and store your backup files.

The cloud is ever-expanding and, with most systems, it’s backed up thoroughly via redundant systems. One of these solutions for backing up your data to the cloud is Dropbox.

Use a WordPress plugin like Updraft to backup to Dropbox. You’ll find this simple to set up and it shouldn’t cost too much.

For more advanced users Updraft will backup to Wasabi, a cheap and flexible data storage provider (and my personal favourite).

Updraft will allow you to choose how often you back up and how many back ups you keep. Choose to backup daily, keeping a weeks worth and then weekly backups after that (for instance). 

Automated managed backup solutions.

Why conduct the backups yourself when you can put the professionals in control?

There is a variety of managed backup services out there.

One is called Backup Machine: a feature-rich backup solution. This is a really good solution.

Backup Machine gives free backups, plus automatic everyday internet site and database backups.

Other automated backup solutions are Codeguard and Dropmysite.

Final thoughts: Always backup!

We cannot stress the importance of running backups on your website. You may have never experienced any problems with your website or hosting provider. And your site may have been online for 10 years without a single problem. However, when it comes to the integrity of your website data, it’s not a matter of if there will be a problem. It’s a matter of when.

So please ensure you back up your website data at least once a week to several different locations. You will be pleased with yourself that this is something you looked into when a problem occurs.

Hosting companies,  like our friends at Domain Registration DNS, run their own backups on client’s behalf.

Even though this is a default feature with this hosting company. It is still highly recommended you backup your own data also.